We have been talking about David for a really long time in this class. In fact, we started the book of Samuel in September! Other than a short break in December for Advent, that’s a long time to be talking about Samuel, Saul, and David. Well today is the last story of David we’re going to study!
Last we saw David he was having some issues handling his kids. Amnon attacked his sister. Absolom killed Amnon and then tried to overthrow David and then in the end Absolom too died. That means David’s two oldest heirs, who should have been king are both dead.
So who is going to be king after David? That is the question. Please go get your Bibles and open to 1 Kings!
Someone please read 1 Kings 1:5-10.
(Note: Adonijah is pronounce ADD-eh-KNEE-jah)
5 Now Adonijah son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king”; he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. 6 His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, “Why have you done thus and so?” He was also a very handsome man, and he was born next after Absalom. 7 He conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with the priest Abiathar, and they supported Adonijah. 8 But the priest Zadok, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the prophet Nathan, and Shimei, and Rei, and David’s own warriors did not side with Adonijah.
9 Adonijah sacrificed sheep, oxen, and fatted cattle by the stone Zoheleth, which is beside En-rogel, and he invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the royal officials of Judah, 10 but he did not invite the prophet Nathan or Benaiah or the warriors or his brother Solomon.
Adonijah is David’s fourth son. We’ve already talked about how Amnon was oldest and Absolom was third, and we don’t know what happened to David’s second son. For whatever reason, the second son is never discussed or considered in the running for the throne. So that means Adonijah, as the fourth son, is now the heir apparent for the throne of Israel.
So Adonijah starts acting like he’s going to be king, he starts acting like king already. He starts talking with generals and priests and basically preparing to be king someday. But not everyone supports Adonijah as the next king, and one of the people who doesn’t support him is Nathan—the current prophet of God. And Adonijah knows it, so when he goes to have a party to basically celebrate how he’s going to be king someday, he invites everyone—except the people who don’t support his claim to be king, like the prophet Nathan or his brother Solomon.
Can someone please read 1 Kings 1:11-14.
11 Then Nathan said to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, “Have you not heard that Adonijah son of Haggith has become king and our lord David does not know it? 12 Now therefore come, let me give you advice, so that you may save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. 13 Go in at once to King David, and say to him, ‘Did you not, my lord the king, swear to your servant, saying: Your son Solomon shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne? Why then is Adonijah king?’ 14 Then while you are still there speaking with the king, I will come in after you and confirm your words.”
Nathan is not happy about this whole Adonijah situation. So he goes to Bathsheba to devise a plan to stop this from happening. If you’ll remember Bathsheba is one of David’s wife, but she became his wife after a really horrible situation where David abused his power. A lot of the drama happening in David’s life is a punishment for his horrible abuses of power. But Bathsheba did nothing wrong, she was the victim, and she became David’s wife and had a son named Solomon. Who is now an adult and is the son of David that Nathan wants to be king after David.
Nathan says at some point David promised Solomon would be king after him. Now I couldn’t find the verse where David actually promised that, but it seems that both Nathan and Bathsheba believed David had intended Solomon to be king.
So David goes to Bathsheba and tells her to go to David and basically ask why Adonijah is going to be king instead of Solomon.
Someone please read 1 Kings 1:15-21.
15 So Bathsheba went to the king in his room. The king was very old; Abishag the Shunammite was attending the king. 16 Bathsheba bowed and did obeisance to the king, and the king said, “What do you wish?” 17 She said to him, “My lord, you swore to your servant by the Lord your God, saying: Your son Solomon shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne. 18 But now suddenly Adonijah has become king, though you, my lord the king, do not know it. 19 He has sacrificed oxen, fatted cattle, and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the children of the king, the priest Abiathar, and Joab the commander of the army; but your servant Solomon he has not invited. 20 But you, my lord the king—the eyes of all Israel are on you to tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. 21 Otherwise it will come to pass, when my lord the king sleeps with his ancestors, that my son Solomon and I will be counted offenders.”
Bathsheba goes to the king and bows before him and is basically like “hey, did you know Adonijah is going around pretending he’s going to be king? Didn’t you promise that your heir would be Solomon?” And then she basically calls David to task, saying it’s his job as king to stand up and proclaim who will be king after him. That everyone is waiting for David to do so.
She also points out that if Adonijah becomes King after David when many people knew that David had intended Solomon, Adonijah will probably kill Bathsheba and Solomon so that there is no counter claim to the throne—so that there can be no rebellion against him.
This is a pretty common practice back then, that when you become king you kill everyone else who has a claim to the throne. This is why Jonathan made David promise that he wouldn’t kill any of Jonathan’s family. Killing the other heirs family is super common. So it makes sense Bathsheba would be afraid for her and Solomon’s lives.
Alright someone please read 1 Kings 1:22-27.
22 While she was still speaking with the king, the prophet Nathan came in. 23 The king was told, “Here is the prophet Nathan.” When he came in before the king, he did obeisance to the king, with his face to the ground. 24 Nathan said, “My lord the king, have you said, ‘Adonijah shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne’? 25 For today he has gone down and has sacrificed oxen, fatted cattle, and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king’s children, Joab the commander[a]of the army, and the priest Abiathar, who are now eating and drinking before him, and saying, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ 26 But he did not invite me, your servant, and the priest Zadok, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and your servant Solomon. 27 Has this thing been brought about by my lord the king and you have not let your servants know who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?”
As planned, Nathan comes in while Bathsheba is talking to David. And Nathan basically underscores everything Bathsheba just said: that Adonijah is setting himself up to be king and that some of the king’s men are supporting Adonijah as king. Nathan also tells David that it is his job to declare the next king, and David is basically shirking its responsibility.
Now David of the past may just let it ride, and not actually do anything. After all the David who messed up with Amnon, Tamar, and Absolom didn’t like interfering with his children’s lives. So let’s see what David does now. Can someone read 1 Kings 1:28-31?
28 King David answered, “Summon Bathsheba to me.” So she came into the king’s presence, and stood before the king. 29 The king swore, saying, “As the Lord lives, who has saved my life from every adversity, 30 as I swore to you by the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Your son Solomon shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,’ so will I do this day.” 31 Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the ground, and did obeisance to the king, and said, “May my lord King David live forever!”
In the end however David actually listens. Before Bathsheba, Nathan, and God, he swears that Solomon shall succeeded him and be king after him. But it’s not enough for him to proclaim it to just Nathan and Bathsheba. David also needs to tell all the people. Can someone read 1 Kings 1:32-40?
32 King David said, “Summon to me the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.” When they came before the king, 33 the king said to them, “Take with you the servants of your lord, and have my son Solomon ride on my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon. 34 There let the priest Zadok and the prophet Nathan anoint him king over Israel; then blow the trumpet, and say, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35 You shall go up following him. Let him enter and sit on my throne; he shall be king in my place; for I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah.” 36 Benaiah son of Jehoiada answered the king, “Amen! May the Lord, the God of my lord the king, so ordain. 37 As the Lord has been with my lord the king, so may he be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David.”
38 So the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites, went down and had Solomon ride on King David’s mule, and led him to Gihon. 39 There the priest Zadok took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon!” 40 And all the people went up following him, playing on pipes and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth quaked at their noise.
David summons his men and makes a plan. He says they are to take Solomon out in the city, put him on a mule, blow a trumpet, and declare Solomon the king so that everyone knows that it is Solomon and not Adonijah will be king after David.
So these men do it, they take Solomon around on a mule and lead him around and then in the end they anoint Solomon as the next king and declare it. So now all of Israel knows that it is Solomon who has been chosen to be king.
But Adonijah hasn’t been told. How do you guys think he’s going to take this?
Well let’s see. Someone please read 1 Kings 1:41-48.
41 Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they finished feasting. When Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, “Why is the city in an uproar?” 42 While he was still speaking, Jonathan son of the priest Abiathar arrived. Adonijah said, “Come in, for you are a worthy man and surely you bring good news.” 43 Jonathan answered Adonijah, “No, for our lord King David has made Solomon king; 44 the king has sent with him the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and they had him ride on the king’s mule; 45 the priest Zadok and the prophet Nathan have anointed him king at Gihon; and they have gone up from there rejoicing, so that the city is in an uproar. This is the noise that you heard. 46 Solomon now sits on the royal throne. 47 Moreover the king’s servants came to congratulate our lord King David, saying, ‘May God make the name of Solomon more famous than yours, and make his throne greater than your throne.’ The king bowed in worship on the bed 48 and went on to pray thus, ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who today has granted one of my offspring[a] to sit on my throne and permitted me to witness it.’”
This all happens while Adonijah is having his feast, but they hear the trumpets and celebrating in the city and they’re like “What is that?” A man arrives soon and tells them what happened—that David made Solomon king while Adonijah was out partying.
Someone please read 1 Kings 1:49-53.
49 Then all the guests of Adonijah got up trembling and went their own ways. 50 Adonijah, fearing Solomon, got up and went to grasp the horns of the altar. 51 Solomon was informed, “Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon; see, he has laid hold of the horns of the altar, saying, ‘Let King Solomon swear to me first that he will not kill his servant with the sword.’” 52 So Solomon responded, “If he proves to be a worthy man, not one of his hairs shall fall to the ground; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die.” 53 Then King Solomon sent to have him brought down from the altar. He came to do obeisance to King Solomon; and Solomon said to him, “Go home.”
Adonijah and his people are terrified, because now that David has declared Solomon king before all the people, then Solomon might have Adonijah killed. Someone tells Solomon that Adonijah is afraid, but since Solomon is a good man like his father, he promises that as long as Adonijah is a good man he doesn’t have to fear anything. But if he continues in his desire to be king and works against Solomon, well then that will be a different story.
So Solomon calls Adonijah before him and tells him that and sends him home in peace.
Someone please read 1 Kings 2:1-4.
2 When David’s time to die drew near, he charged his son Solomon, saying: 2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, be courageous, 3 and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn. 4 Then the Lord will establish his word that he spoke concerning me: ‘If your heirs take heed to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a successor on the throne of Israel.’
David is very old, so he brings Solomon before him to give him so last advice. He gives Solomon three charges: (1) Be strong. (2) Be courageous. And then finally the most important one (3) he tells Solomon to obey God. Because while God promised David’s throne to last forever, that is reliant on David’s heirs being faithful!
David also continues by advising Solomon on how to deal with the different people, so that Solomon will be set up well as king of Israel.
Now can someone read 1 Kings 2:10-12.
10 Then David slept with his ancestors, and was buried in the city of David. 11 The time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. 12 So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.
In the end King David dies. The Bible says he ruled Israel for 40 years. And then Solomon becomes king. And unlike David, Solomon’s kingdom is not one started at war. It’s an established kingdom and all Solomon has to do is continue his father’s work and obey God and Israel will continue to flourish.
We’ll discuss next week Solomon as king, but for now I want to pause and discuss David’s legacy.
We’ve spent a lot of time on David, and that’s because Biblically he is extremely important. We’re going to see references to David over and over again. David is called over and over a “man after God’s own heart.” Despite all his sins and wrong doings, David was a man who loved God and sought him, and always asked for forgiveness when he did something wrong.
In the end we’re going to see that David’s throne doesn’t last forever. Israel is going to fall. It will be taken over by foreign nations and have no kings. But even during this time of exile, when the people of God weren’t living in their promised land and had no temple, God still promises that King David and his throne will come back. Can someone please read Ezekiel 34:23-24.
23 I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.
This is a promise God is making to Israel, that he will set up a shepherd over them—his servant David. And David will take care of them and be their shepherd and God will be their God but David will be a prince to them.
This isn’t actually talking about God bringing David back from the dead to rule over us. When Christians read this passage, we read it God’s promise of a perfect shepherd, a perfect prince who will be brought to us, to care for us.
Not King David himself brought back from the dead, but an heir of David. And who is that? [Let them answer]
That’s right. It’s Jesus.
Someone read John 10:11. This is Jesus speaking.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Jesus says he’s the good shepherd, the shepherd promised to us by God. Jesus is David’s heir, and unlike David he is perfect.
This is partly why when Jesus came people expected Jesus to be a warrior. Like King David, they expected him to be a mighty warrior who could throw out the Romans. But Jesus came to be the good shepherd who would take care of us.
And that’s why studying these old stories is so important. It gives us perspective on why people in Jesus’s time reacted to him like they did. And what promises God was meeting by sending Jesus to us.
And that’s it for this week. Next week we’ll pick it up and talk about Solomon as King of Israel, and we’ll see how well…or not…that goes.